They are fit, healthy, look fantastic — and all weigh more than 72kg.

These three well-known New Zealanders illustrate the weight of the average Kiwi woman — women referred to as "a bunch of lardos" and "heifers" during an on-air radio blunder this week.

The accidentally broadcasted comments by Newstalk ZB journalist Rachel Smalley offended many and she issued a tearful apology.

But her comments also united women and sparked debate about weight.


After Smalley's gaffe, Auckland DJ Jay-Jay Feeney took to Twitter with the self-deprecating hash-tag #clublardo — a nod to her current 72kg-plus weight.

When the Herald on Sunday called Feeney, she was tucking into a brown rice and tuna salad.

"I'm not easily offended but weight is a sensitive issue for a lot of women," she said, "including me."

Currently on hormone treatment for fertility reasons, the morning DJ on The Edge radio said the drugs have added a few "cuddly bits" to her 163cm frame.

"The drugs have made me put on a bit of weight, but there are plenty of other reasons women are in that weight range — it's not like we all sit around stuffing our faces all day.

"I know plenty of people who are in that weight range but I would never refer to them as heifers or lardos."

At close to 1.8m tall, former Fashion Quarterly and Cleo magazine editor Leonie Barlow is long and lean — and says she is undeserving of "lardo status".

"For me, 72kg is standard but it's also just a number," Barlow said.

"My body mass index (BMI) is well within the healthy range and I look after myself," Barlow said.

"As a mother I am acutely aware of the type of message I am sending to my children and want them to grow up with a healthy respect for themselves and others."

Barlow goes to the gym and watches what she eats — but her motivation is strength and well-being rather than weight control. Online editor of Jenene Crossan also tips the scales at 72kg — but also runs to and from boot-camp, eats a gluten free diet and will soon compete in the the gruelling Tough Mudder — a 20km obstacle course through mud.

"I would describe myself as athletic and extremely fit but I am also in the 72kg club," Crossan said.

Crossan said the debate after the "heifer and lardo" comments was healthy and long overdue. "The positive is that it has got women talking about what they weigh and how ridiculous relying on the scales is," Crossan said.

"Women punish themselves by putting themselves on scales. We need to change that."

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